Back in 2013, Edward Snowden was possibly one of the most talked about people on the planet. If you're somehow unaware, Edward Snowden is a former CIA employee that leaked highly classified files and information from the National Security Agency.
After leaking the files, Snowden left the country and went into hiding to avoid being captured by the United States government, before he was eventually granted asylum in Russia. The woman, Vanessa Rodel, that helped shelter Snowden while he was hiding in Hong Kong just arrived in Canada after she was granted refugee status.
While Snowden was on the run, a Philippino woman, Vanessa Rodel, helped shelter the ex-government employee in Hong Kong. If you've seen the cinematic retelling that includes Joseph Gordon Levitt, then you probably remember the scenes where Levitt was hiding in Hong Kong before eventually fleeing to Russia.
Well, it turns out that the woman that helped shelter Snowden in Hong Kong is a refugee that applied for asylum in Canada and today, she's finally arrived at her new home country. Rodel and her daughter will settle into their new home in an apartment in Montreal, Quebec.
Seven year old Keana Nihinsa takes in the media gathered around as her mother Vanessa Rodel speaks to the media after she and her daughter arrived in Canada after leaving Hong Kong. The two will travel to Montreal where they will settle as privately sponsored refugees. pic.twitter.com/aTj92mZoJa— Fred Lum (@2manycameras) March 26, 2019
Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter reportedly escaped a dangerous life in the Philippines where they were lucky enough to escape from sexual violence and human trafficking. They first sought asylum in Hong Kong, now in Canada. Back in 2016, Rodel applied to seek asylum in Canada and it was recently granted.
Today, March 26, 2019, Rodel and her child arrived in Toronto, travelling to Montreal, where they hope to start a new life together, free from violence. Rodel told reporters at Toronto's Pearson Airport, "I feel so great and I feel like I'm free."
Vanessa Rodel helped shelter Snowden, a former CIA employee and US National Security Agency contractor now living in Russia, whose documents leaks revealed global surveillance programs run by the NSA and its foreign partners https://t.co/oY3eESYNUA pic.twitter.com/oS2nesHLwl— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 25, 2019
Although Rodel and her daughter were able to seek asylum in Canada, the rest of her family was not as lucky. Rodel's husband and two of her other children, from another marriage, were not granted refugee status in Canada. She explained that they all hope that the rest of her family will be able to come to Canada so that they can "feel safe and free".
According to The Star, when the former CIA agent travelled to Hong Kong after releasing classified information, Rodel and a few others banded together to help him while he sought safety. Knowing that Snowden needed help, Rodel offered to aid Snowden in the days that followed the leak.
Merci à tous ceux qui, au Canada et dans le monde entier, ont rendu cela possible. Après tant d'années, la première des familles qui m'a aidé est libre et a un avenir. Mais le travail n'est pas fini - avec la solidarité et la compassion, le Canada peut tous les sauver. https://t.co/S7gaKT1ueQ— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 25, 2019
Now, Snowden resides in Moscow, Russia where he was granted asylum following the leak of information. He's still wanted by the United States on charges releated to the release of government files and information.